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In the Struggle: A History of Politically Engaged Scholarship in California's San Joaquin Valley

by Daniel O'Connell and Scott Peters New Village Press
Pub Date:
06/2020
ISBN:
9781613321225
Format:
Pbk 368 pages
Price:
AU$56.99 NZ$60.86
Product Status: Not Yet Published - See Pub Date for expected date
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Scholars working for communities' rights in California's Central ValleyIn the Struggle tells the story of the persistent engagement of eight public scholars spanning generations of sustained endeavor, a dogged war in which workers and scholars together repeatedly took on the powerful agricultural industry, the political machines, and even the universities.The stories begin in the 1930s with Paul Taylor, a professor of economics at University of California, Berkeley, who pioneered field research and activism as he travelled through the areas marked by the Great Depression, together with his wife, photographer Dorothea Lange. Working in the heart of California's agricultural Central Valley, Taylor was the first of a succession of scholars who shared the dual commitment to research and engagement, to making problems visible and to effecting change through strategic action. Taylor and Lange intentionally wove their political engagement into their identities and work as researchers, as they conducted studies, led strikes, organized underserved communities, founded community development programs, created nonprofit institutions, and more. This book documents a tradition of politically engaged scholarship in one of the world's most dramatic contexts, full of disparities and contradictions, but also ripe with opportunities to make a difference. It covers a struggle that continues undiminished in the present.

Daniel O'Connell trained as a multidisciplinary ethnographer and holds an M.S. in international agricultural development from University of California Davis and a Ph.D. in adult and extension education from Cornell University. He is currently the executive director of the Central Valley Partnership, a regional progressive coalition of labor unions, environmental organizations, and community groups in the San Joaquin Valley. Scott Peters is a professor in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University and a historian of American higher education's public purposes and work. He has spent the past twenty years as a leader in the civic engagement movement in American higher education, most recently serving as faculty co-director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA). He is the author of Democracy and Higher Education: Traditions and Stories of Civic Engagement.